life, love, and maybe babies

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Inconceivable: My Unasked For Opinion on Kim Kardashian's Infertility Story

Firs and foremost, let me be completely honest. There was a time many, many moons ago when I kind of liked the Kardashians. Okay, maybe "like" is a strong word, but I found them interesting.

Like when you have a class pet gerbil in 3rd grade and you run over to its little cage every day, captivated by what it might do if only you arrive at the right time. And then it just drinks water and poops and you get over it.

Similar to the class gerbil, I quickly found that the Kardashians did nothing that interested me. Their constant talk about being "so excited" to go to the grocery store/get a facelift/go to Bora Bora wore thin and I got sick of them. Fast. None so fast as Kim.

From the very beginning of her "career", I haven't felt like Kim has done much to contribute to society, much less earn the level of fame she has achieved. This is a woman who has more money than I will ever hope to acquire, yet I don't feel like she's done anything of value to have earned it (and really, that's our fault for encouraging her). It seems that Kim and her entire family feel entitled to be consistently in the spotlight for things normal people do every single day. Such as: Take a shower. Consider Botox. Eat breakfast. Analyze a weird mole. Go swimming. Go to the bathroom. It isn't captivating when I do it and it certainly isn't captivating when she does it. And yet, millions of people tune in each week to see what she and her family are up to. I chalked it up to mindless entertainment and ignored it until a few days ago when Kim announced she and her husband Kanye are pregnant with their second child.

Through IVF.

My overly sensitive sensibilities immediately went into overdrive when I learned how Kim had conceived. Right away I started pondering the questions that I'm sure many infertiles did:

1) How long did they even try "the old fashioned way" before seeking fertility treatments?

2) Why keep it hidden and all of a sudden come out on air and in print and discuss it?

3) Didn't she have a kid already without assistance?

4) Does this hurt or help the infertile community?

Let's go over these one at a time and see if we can't flush it all out.

How long did they try before seeking fertility treatments?

I have no idea on the actual timeline. According to this article in People magazine (and I'm not saying it's a credible source), they tried for eight months before turning to fertility treatments. It also states that Kardashian had several surgeries to repair her uterus, which was damaged due to preeclampsia after the delivery of her first child, North. She was apparently told after giving birth that conceiving again would not be possible and turned to IVF for a "miracle baby."

Why keep it hidden and all of a sudden come out on air and discuss it?

Like I mentioned before, I don't watch the show, so maybe she has discussed it in previous episodes. All I know is, one minute I had heard nothing about it and the next minute she's touting the praises of IVF in every magazine that exists. A lot of infertiles keep their mouths shut about their struggles (remember I just talked about this the other day), so I don't know that I can judge her for keeping it relatively quiet.

Didn't she already have a kid without assistance?

Yes. She was pregnant with Kanye's child before her divorce to Kris Humphries was finalized. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that wasn't a planned pregnancy. Again though, the birth of that child is apparently what caused the need for fertility treatments this time around.

Does this hurt or help the infertility community?

This is the crux of the whole thing. To be honest, I don't doubt that Kim struggled to get pregnant the second time around. I don't even doubt that she had preeclampsia. And frankly, it's absolutely none of my business. I wouldn't want people dissecting my fertility treatments and deciding for themselves whether or not I took the right course of action.

But wait...I'm not a reality TV star. Kim is.

Here's the biggest problem I have with the Kim/Kanye/IVF story. I think it hurts the infertility community.

The amount of misnomers and misunderstandings about infertility is already astronomically high thanks to outspoken morons like Dolce and Gabanna. Science babies. Playing God. Rich Bitch Babies. Labels like this get thrown out into the interwebs without a spec of research or understanding. So if I'm Jane and John Doe, never having heard much about IVF or IUI or any of these processes, here's what I'm thinking when I see stories about the new Kardashian baby:

"So what? They had some problems with preeclempsia. My sister had that and she got pregnant again in no time. Kim Kardashian wanted a baby fast and it wasn't happening so she paid a doctor to make her one in a test tube. This is why I hate in vitro."

The Kardashian clan is not exactly known for roughing through anything (except maybe Bruce/Caitlyn now). Their lives are told from a fairy tale angle, where they buy what they want (don't get me started on how many houses they've each had) do what they want (didn't Scott buy a helicopter just because he could?) and say what they want...and get paid for it.

I can't help but think that the public at large will see Kim's story and immediately look at IVF as just another quick fix that celebrities turn to in an effort to procure whatever thrill of the minute is eluding them. They don't know people like you and me that scrimp every penny and go into debt for a chance at one IVF cycle. They don't know the thousands of women who are right now finding out that their third miscarriage will be the last one because the money is gone and their bodies can't take any more. Those are the stories that are lost in the shadows of someone like Kim Kardashian.

The worst part is, it's very possible that Kim really did struggle with everything she's claimed. But she's the girl who cried publicity wolf. She wanted us to feel bad for her when she married a man she met for 9 minutes and it didn't work out. She wanted us to weep for her when she had Botox that went bad and looked weird for a few days. She expected sympathy when she went on "Dancing With the Stars" and hurt her ankle and had to wear an ice pack. And now, she has finally dealt with a very real and very traumatic experience, and I'm feeling a little bit been there, done that. 

It's a crying shame that the one group that should probably be rallying around Kim Kardashian and sharing our stories along with her is turning their backs to her. Because frankly, we're left wondering if it's just another ploy for publicity. Another episode to follow. And folks, that hurts us. It makes us look insensitive and very "you can't sit with us".

But who can blame us? When you're as overexposed and exhibit as much attention seeking behavior as Kim and Kanye and their respective family members, you have to think she maybe saw this coming. For years she's rubbed her wealth and good fortune in our faces. She's received millions of dollars for tweeting that she likes a pair of jeans. Or for putting a champagne glass on her ass and saying she did it for "art".

(Yeah, art in the shape of a lot of Benjamins.)

And now after all this time, she suddenly has this difficult yet happy infertility story, all wrapped up in a pretty little bow for a glossy magazine. It's just hard for me to swallow, especially as someone who struggled for 4 years, not 8 months, to make even one baby.

I think the overarching theme here is, the infertility community is looking for a role model...and it definitely isn't Kim Kardashian. Where are the other high profile women out there that have experienced even a fraction of what we have that will tell their story? 

The answer for me has been Giuliana Rancic, the longtime host of E! News and proud cancer and infertility warrior. She began documenting her infertility struggle in real time on her reality show, "Giuliana and Bill." The show covered it all. The good, the bad, the really, really ugly. I started watching her story before I even knew I had problems conceiving, and by the time I was joining the infertile's club, I felt like I had an ally. Someone who was on a high celebrity playing field, but not hiding from the truth of what infertility is. 

But we need more. 

Giuliana's journey is all but finished now that she has her son via surrogacy. I'm not saying she doesn't remember it all (cuz we all know it never really leaves you), but she's living her life now, focused on other things. We need more women like Giuliana that will not hide behind this self imposed curtain of shame because our bodies don't want to give us babies the "normal" way. We need more women who are having children via surrogacy and donor eggs and IVF and IUI and Clomid and Femera to stand up and talk about it, not just show up in a magazine and mention it as a headline grabber.

We have to be brave and put our stories out there for everyone to hear and understand. Otherwise we're going to have to stick with Kim, and that's just inconceivable.

(Get it?)


PS: Please don't get it twisted; I don't hate Kim Kardashian. I empathize with her if what she experienced is true because I would never wish infertility on anyone. I hope she realizes how truly fortunate she is to have the resources she does. I know she's a human and has feelings, but she puts herself out there for public scrutiny. I'm not saying she's the devil, I'm just stating that I don't think she's the right person to represent this community.


Aislinn said...

On one hand, it blows my mind that more celebs aren't advocating for infertility like Giuliana did. They will advocate for everything else under the sun, but not for something that personally affects them? (not saying they shouldn't advocate for other causes, but you'd think they'd want to push hard for something that has changed their lives.)

On the other hand, I can kind of (KIND OF) understand why they don't. Who wants to publicly admit that your baby-makin' bits are broken? Isn't that the reason so many of us don't boast about it on Facebook and other social media? But the part I don't understand is why boast about it after you're successful? I'm assuming it's because they don't want the paparazzi hounding them all the time about how their treatments are going. But, talking about it after the fact makes it seem to the general public like a quick, one time thing that always has a positive outcome, which we all know it's not.

I agree 100% that the IF community needs more celebrity advocates, but I can also understand why most of them keep quiet until they get their happy ending. I think it takes a special person to shout from the rooftops that they're having trouble conceiving, and then deal with the invasive questions that they'll get.

I'll admit that out of all the celebrities out there, I really wish Kim wasn't the new face of the infertility community.

Kim said...

You are so right, Aislinn. I also understand how it can be daunting to "come out" as an infertile because of the privacy issue. I think that's why it bothered me so much that Kim did it the way she did, on a glassy magazine cover that's clearly meant to make money. I would have a lot more respect for her if she had either shown the process from the beginning (or at least near the beginning) OR gone about it in a different way. She has so many resource at her fingertips. She could have written a note on her website or sat down with a respected reporter and discussed her journey from an informational perspective. It just felt...forced? Self serving.

She's probably damn if she does, damned if she doesn't, but again, she kind of brought it on herself over the years by her and her family oversharing on everything else (bleaching their buttholes, anyone?) but then staying quiet on this. It just feels backwards.

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